Thursday, June 28, 2012

Rock this World

I have found where I belong.

The One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshops is home to me. I attended last year and had an amazing time. This year, it was like coming home.

The speakers were amazing, especially the sessions by the key speakers: Mr. S., Jeff Gerke, and Mark Wilson. My wrist grew tired and my neck grew stiff from the plethora of notes I took. I couldn’t stop scribbling away and nearly filled up my tablet of paper.

The critique sessions were wonderful. My group, the Waddle of Penguins, had a great dynamic. We hit it off well, and I think we learned a lot from each other.  I was also able to reunite with my group from last year, affectionately known OYAN-wide as the Platypi. After a year of keeping in contact through various forms of communication, we picked up right where we left off.  I believe it was a God-Thing that we all clicked so well.

Getting a mentoring session with Amanda Luedeke was so encouraging and inspiring! I really enjoyed talking to her. She was very helpful, and expressed interested in my manuscript—enough interest that she’d like to read it. Wow! My reaction made me feel a little like a dork. I blinked and said, in a high voice, “Really?” It’s all good, though.

The free time spent simply hanging out with my fellow students was plain and simply awesome. From sitting in the grass talking to giving photography tips to filming crazy videos in the dark and spur-of-the-moment skits at the supper table, to midnight snacks, I have come home with a heart overflowing with memories. The bruises from sword-fighting  and the fading Sharpie tattoo I am sporting are special. As is my hat, platypus, binder, knife, notebook, collection of books by my fellow students, and photo mat filled with your signatures. The mere thought of glitter or of Sharpies makes me smile.
I miss you all so much. I’d give almost anything to spend one more night roaming the MNU campus with Matthew and Eli, hoping over to the 7/11 for a snack and laughing over Eli’s “true love”—gasoline, or to have one more meal with the Platypi, or to simply hang out in the Lounge of Tipping, vacillating between my swords and the red leather couch.
I’ll never forget when Matt, Eli, and I were relaxing on the grass Friday night after our 7/11 run, chatting about this and that, and we found out that a mutual friend and OYANer had been saved. I freaked out and started bouncing and squealing. I had been praying for years for this friend, and during the last sessions where the focus was on finding God’s vision for you and your writing, I had been wondering what my friend was thinking, wondering if God was going to use those sessions to do something amazing. The impending sadness on this, the last night, was pushed back by an overwhelming flood of joy. Some friends and I waited for him at the gazebo, a happy ambush. I tackle-hugged him. There was a moment of, “Oh gosh, did I really just do that?” when I realized I had almost knocked him over. That’s not normally me. The normal me is much more reserved. But like I told him, I couldn’t help it. I was so, so excited, and I still am.
Goodbyes were hard. After spending almost a week with most of my closest friends, I really didn’t want to leave. I didn’t want them to leave. Many of us cried. I almost did. I know the tears will come eventually. Probably tonight as I write this. But you know what? That’s okay. Because the good things will sometimes make you cry.

OYAN is truly a family. We are united, not just by our love of writing, but by our love for God. The sense of community and of love is simply amazing. We can and will change the world, and we can and will do that because we are united in our Savior and in our purpose.

The Schwabuers’ didn’t envision this when Mr. S. sat down to write the OYAN curriculum; I asked him. But oh, goodness, God’s hand is, beyond a doubt, upon this couple and upon OYAN. I’ve seen it and experienced it firsthand.

Mr. and Mrs. S. themselves are living testimonies to just how powerful and dynamic a husband and wife can be when they are working together for one goal. They didn’t just turn us loose with a box of curriculum. They have spent—and are spending—their time and effort investing in the lives of their students. A friend of mine attended the 2010 Workshop, skipped 2011’s, and returned this year. Mrs. S. remembered her by name.  There are several hundred active students on the Forums and she cares enough that she remembers the name of one person.

My fellow students, you are all wonderful. Your talent never ceases to amaze me.  I love spending time with you, bouncing ideas back and forth, sharing our writings, doing crazy things, and worshiping together. Honestly, you are some of the most awesome people I have met or ever will meet. I love you all.

Keep writing, keep seeking God’s vision for you and pursuing “useless” good knowledge, using the passions God has placed in your heart as a springboard.
Together, under Christ, we can rock this world.
Rak Chazak Amats!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Well. Tonight was interesting.

Tonight my dad, two of my brothers, and I went to see a movie with some friends of ours.

While waiting outside of the theatre on a large semi-circle bench for our friends, a random guy comes along. Kind of skinny. Wearing shorts and an old white t-shirt, and carrying a duffle bag.
No big deal, right?
Maybe so.
He sat down on our side of the bench. My brother stood up. The guy placed his duffle bag up where my brother was sitting, and started to rifle through it.
I could hear something rattling inside. We ignored him and minded our own business.
"I'm gonna go sit somewhere else," the guy said a minute or two later, picking up his bag. His steps were uneaven, and for the first time I could see his face. His eyes weren't right.
The guy was stoned. Totally. He'd probably been hoping we would make a deal with him.
Yeah. It's not every day you get to sit four feet from a street dealer.

Then once inside the theatre, sitting behind my brother, friend, and I were two teenage guys. They were gamers, I could tell, by listening to them talk.
 Then one of them says, "Dude, what's your best pickup line? How do you get chicks?"
"Well I dunno. Why do you want to know that?"
"Oh, not that I need them or anything, but just because." [note: This is as close to the original conversation as I can get it. Not 100% correct.]
"ASL. It's chatroom lingo."
"What's it mean?"
"Age, sex, location. It's great."
There is where I wanted to turn around and say something, something like, "Wow. No decent girl would fall for that." But...I didn't. I dared my friend to say something to them, and my brother dared her too.
She turned around and asked one of the guys what he was drinking.
"Um...Monster," he said.
The other guy then said, "Hey, is your necklace from Lord of the Rings?"
"She didn't hear you."
That's when I realized...he was talking to me.
"Is your necklace from Lord of the Rings?"
I halfway turned around. "No, it's not."
He blinked and his friend nudged him, saying, "I was right!"
"Oh, sorry, that must have sounded like a really weird question." The guy who had been talking to me said.
"Eh. Don't worry about it."

So yes. Tonight was interesting. It's not every day you sit four feet from a street dealer, have someone try to flirt with you, or see a soda cooler that looks like a larger-than-life R2D2 at a garage sale.

- Hannah

Thursday, June 14, 2012

The week of "Epic epicness" is almost here.

Next week I shall, like as not, be absent.

Next week is the week of the One Year Adventure Novel Summer Workshop & Reunion, and I will be attending!

I went last year and had an absolutely amazing time. Ever since I pulled out of the parking lot on the last day of last year's SW, I have been waiting for this upcoming week.

I am so incredibly excited! Not only will I be seeing again/meeting for the first time many of my friends and the wonderful Schwaubaers, I will be meeting my friend Eli King of Kingdom Pen, Stephanine Morrill of Go Teen Writers, Jeff Gerke of Marcher Lord Press, and will be soaking up all sorts of amazing information. And I will be leading a critique A little nerve-wracking, but great nontheless!

So adios until my return! I am sure I will bring much back with me that I will want to share.


- Hannah

Monday, June 11, 2012

[Media Monday] The Truth

The Truth by the group Relient K. It's a great song, one I just discovered tonight. God brought it to me when I needed it...isn't that like Him?

Oh, and by the way, not five minutes ago I just finished the first draft of Hosanna House!



Thursday, June 7, 2012


The Free Dictionary defines immersion as,
 - 1) The act or an instance of immersing.
 - 2) The condition of being immersed.

It has several other definitions as well, but for different uses of the word.

Why am I talking about immersion?

Well, sitting down with my laptop tonight, I realized that I didn't really know what to write about. So I sat back and began letting random ideas bounce around like popcorn in my brain while I checked my email. One piece of brain-popcorn hit harder than the others: when writing fiction and it feels like something is "wrong" with any given seen, I have found that it is often due to...

- 1) I am outside of my character's mind.
- 2) I am emotionally disconnected from the characters and scene.
- 3) I cannot see what is happening.
- 4) Description--of setting, thoughts, emotions, etc.-- is lacking.

There is a lack of immersion. As the author, I am not immersed into my story enough, or my character isn't immersed enough into the action.

A friend of mine was having trouble with a scene. She said it felt off. Like her character wasn't involved enough, because she wasn't actively doing anything. We brainstormed, but couldn't find very much for her character to physically do.
Then it hit me. I noticed the character wasn't thinking/feeling much either. She was just kind of sitting there.
I mentioned that to my friend, and she reworked the scene, this time taking into account her character and probing her for reactions. Voi la! The scene was ten times better.

I've had the same problem with scenes before, a lot of times. I expect I always will to some degree. Sometimes I will be typing away, la-de-da-de-da, and then wham! The chapter falls flat on its face and ends up with a bloody nose. Ouch.

Reconnection is then necessary, unless it's an actual plot problem. Then it takes more than reconnection!
While I don't pretend to have all the answers, I've found a few things that work for me.

- 1) Close my eyes. Yup. Simple as that. Close my eyes and watch the scene play through my head, like it's a movie.
 - 2) Put myself into the character's shoes. What are they thinking? Is the situation frightening them, making them excited, causing them to feel shivers of apprehension race up and down their spine? Are they touching anything? If so, what is its texture like? Are they sweating, or thirsty, or secretly laughing about the guy at the other end of the room who has a red, white, and blue mohawk?

After that information has been gathered, I write it down. It can be tweaked later. Without opening my eyes, I try to write out exactly what I am seeing as it happens, and what my PoV character is experiencing on multiple levels.
Usually I find that this puts the spark back into my writing. I'm immersed into my story-world and into the people populating it. There's a connection again, one that might not even be noticed until it's gone.
But when it's gone, I can tell. I'm pretty sure you can too. Like a car with a blown fuse, it still might be running but the lights aren't working.  Don't leave us in the dark. Immerse yourself.

- Hannah

[Photo Credit]

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

[Media Monday] The Dangers of Homeschooling

Yes, slightly late but here nontheless! Braden from Broken Lens Productions and his newest video. Enjoy!


- Hannah